Which wine would you pair with a hot dog?
Photography by Cindy Momchilov
“Which wine would you pair with a hot dog?” was our question directed toward the Raptor Ridge Winery’s assistant winemaker. It was early in the morning at the KABF radio station, and after a long night at South on Main Restaurant, my co-host and I thought we could stump the winemaker. It didn’t work. Without hesitation, he responded, “Well it depends, what’s on the dog?” The co-host and I both grinned; we should have known that the guy with the experienced palate needed to know the specifics. We decided that the hot dog would be plain and simple, like a ball park frank. The obvious answer for him was Gewurztraminer, a sweeter French white grape, which would complement the fattiness of the dog. The co-host Brice Ward, who happens to be my not-so-wine-centric brother, had a puzzled look on his face. Most folks would, so as it’s getting closer to game day, you need to be prepared.
The hamburgers are grilling, the wings are tossed, and you’re craving a glass of vino. Honestly, you can’t go wrong. But there’s not much better than a juicy burger, and a big glass of bold Malbec. Have some tangy, sauce-drenched ribs on the table? Pinot noir will be your best friend. Remember, pinot is THE swine wine. How about those spicy chicken wings? A cold glass of Raptor Ridge Pinot Gris will be the perfect pairing. Opposites attract, so whenever spiciness is involved, a sweeter wine will do the trick. Women do seem to love Chardonnay, and men seem to steer away from pink wine. Folks, you cannot go wrong with rosé. Nothing quite says sexy to me like a guy owning his glass of chilled Impatience Rosé. And finally, we can’t talk about football parties without mentioning the holy grail of Arkansan party food. Cheese dip! Hash tag this, “everything pairs with cheese dip.”
Be the popular one at the tailgate by bringing your pre-batched vat of sangria. It’s basically the more adult version of the punch from your college days – an inexpensive bottle of red or white wine, a tasty rum, orange liqueur and fresh fruit juices mixed to create a good looking and excellent tasting masterpiece. It’s well advised to batch the sangria the night before, so the cocktail has had the chance to integrate. Plus, it saves you precious time on the morning of game day. Another way to please your friends, and be economical, is to carry along a three-liter box of wine. Winemakers are producing delicious, quality driven boxed wines these days. The boxes are easy to transport, and let’s face it, there is more wine for everyone to enjoy.
Whether you are grilling and chilling with a few friends or attending a massive tailgate throw down, wine is always an appreciated party favor. The bottle doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, yet it can be thoughtful. If the anticipation of the game has you in a tizzy, remember that you can never go wrong with a bottle of bubbles. Oh, and cheese dip.
Alexia’s Game Day Red Sangria
1 bottle of Tercos Malbec
1 cup Plantation Original Dark Rum
½ cup Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao
1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
¼ cup sugar (optional)
One sliced lemon, lime, apple, and orange
Mix and serve over ice
Alexia Elichiry is Managing Member/Director of Sales of De Nux Distributors, LLC (an Arkansas wholesaler of wines and spirits). She is also host of Vive la Vie on community radio KABF 88.3 FM where she shares her love of food, wine, and travel with expert guests.